The 32nd annual La Kermesse kicks off Thursday with a new location and renewed focus on offering a family-friendly festival that celebrates Biddeford’s Franco-American heritage.

For the past three years, the festival was held in downtown Biddeford, but this year returns to a more traditional La Kermesse venue: a local playing field. For more than two decades, the festival was held each June at St. Louis Field, but was moved after the field was damaged during a rainy year.

“This just feels like home. I can’t even tell you how excited we are,” La Kermesse president Jessica Quattrone said while helping to set up the festival on the Biddeford Intermediate School field on Hill Street. “We are thrilled to be back on a field, where a festival belongs.”

The festival opens at 4 p.m. Thursday and runs through Sunday. Highlights include a Friday parade, fireworks on Saturday and performances throughout the weekend by local and Canadian artists.

Because the festival is on school property where alcohol sales are prohibited, there will no longer be a beer tent. Instead, organizers added more activities for families, including a touch-a-truck event and a petting zoo.

Musical performances will include Maine’s Jose Duddy and Canadian performers the Le- Blanc Family and Chantal and Marcel. The Heart of Biddeford will sponsor a “world stage” that will feature a number of acts, including the local Alumni Band.

Sunday’s events include a Catholic Mass followed by a crepe breakfast. Throughout the weekend, local nonprofit organizations will be on hand to do outreach and raise money through food sales.

Quattrone, who has been involved with La Kermesse since she was a child, said the best part of the festival is “the underlying sense of community that comes from it.”

“It’s always been a big family reunion.”

Admission is $5. A complete schedule of events is available at